"One Hell of a Gamble" by Aleksandr Fursenko
Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964

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Synopsis

Based on classified Soviet archives, including the files of Nikita Khrushchev and the KGB, "One Hell of a Gamble" offers a riveting play-by-play history of the Cuban missile crisis from American and Soviet perspectives simultaneously.


No other book offers this inside look at the strategies of the Soviet leadership. John F. Kennedy did not live to write his memoirs; Fidel Castro will not reveal what he knows; and the records of the Soviet Union have long been sealed from public view: Of the most frightening episode of the Cold War--the Cuban Missile Crisis--we have had an incomplete picture. When did Castro embrace the Soviet Union? What proposals were put before the Kremlin through Kennedy's back-channel diplomacy? How close did we come to nuclear war? These questions have now been answered for the first time. This important and controversial book draws the missing half of the story from secret Soviet archives revealed exclusively by the authors, including the files of Nikita Khrushchev and his leadership circle. Contained in these remarkable documents are the details of over forty secret meetings between Robert Kennedy and his Soviet contact, records of Castro's first solicitation of Soviet favor, and the plans, suspicions, and strategies of Khrushchev. This unique research opportunity has allowed the authors to tell the complete, fascinating, and terrifying story of the most dangerous days of the last half-century.
 

About Aleksandr Fursenko

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Aleksandr Fursenko, one of Russia's leading historians, is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Timothy Naftali, a frequent contributor to "Slate" and NPR, is an associate professor at the University of Virginia, where he directs the Presidential Recordings Program and Kremlin Decision-Making Project at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. An Associate Professor at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, Timothy Naftali directs the Presidential Recordings Program and the Kremlin Decision-making Project. Co-author of One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958 1964, he is currently completing Khrushchev's Cold War and Blindspot: The Secret History of US Counterterrorism. Naftali was most recently a consultant to the 9/11 Commission.
 
Published August 17, 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company. 420 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for "One Hell of a Gamble"

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One of the best pieces of research to have emerged as a result of the opening of the Russian archives, a subtle, nuanced, and vivid history of the Cuban missile crisis--the East-West showdown that brought the world close to nuclear war.

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Publishers Weekly

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The Cold War now seems like a dim memory, but it was only 35 years ago, in October 1962, that the two superpowers came to the brink of nuclear war over the Caribbean island of Cuba. The diplomacy in t

Jun 02 1997 | Read Full Review of "One Hell of a Gamble": Khrus...

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After showing how the Cuban leader (pushed by U.S. and Soviet pressure, his brother and his own anti-imperialist urges) embraced Moscow, the authors then examine how the dominos fell: increasing Soviet-Cuban cooperation led to American military efforts (the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion), which led t...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Many reviewers pointed out that Dobbs moves rather quickly through the opening stages of the crisis to focus on "Black Saturday," October 27, when Cuba shot down a U.S. spy plane.

Jun 29 2008 | Read Full Review of "One Hell of a Gamble": Khrus...

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